cover image Quarry's List

Quarry's List

Max Allan Collins. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-78329-885-3

First published in 1976 under the title The Broker's Wife, Collins's second novel (after the eponymous Quarry) featuring the Vietnam vet turned hit man is a brisk page-turner that works well as a prequel for readers who are only familiar with more recent titles in the series. The book opens with Quarry being stalked in his Wisconsin home by two killers. They were ostensibly sent by someone who believes Quarry was responsible for the murder of the Broker, the middleman who gave Quarry his lethal assignments. After surviving the encounter, Quarry follows a lead to Davenport, Iowa, where his efforts to stay alive are complicated by an attractive woman who crosses his path. The story line is deceptively simple. As usual, Collins imbues even walk-on characters with personality. This reissue is a good entry point to the series for fans of gritty crime fiction, and showcases some of the prolific Collins's best work. Making a stone-cold killer sympathetic isn't easy, but Collins pulls it off. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Dec.)